Time we treasured our waterway wildlife
ALTHOUGH I am in complete agreement with Frank Sanderson ( Feb) that we should treasure our wildlife and its place along the canals, he ignores the main reason for its current demise. That is the effect over the past 60 or 70 years of more and more efficient farming methods to produce cheaper and cheaper food.
Yes there used to be more wildlife along the canals 50 years ago despite their poor state but that’s because there was more wildlife everywhere. Hedges were unkempt and had far more wildflowers in them than the tidy, flailed hedges of today’s countryside. Those of us old enough to have driven cars in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties will remember the swarms of insects that were squashed on the windscreen and bonnet after a ride in the countryside. No longer is that a problem, thanks to the blanket use of pesticides. There are also fewer untidy places for wildflowers which are no longer found in or around the huge fields of today because of the effective use of herbicides.
As for incorrectly feeding wildlife, I can remember my gran saying bread was bad for ducks and hedgehogs, she was hardly a member of the wildlife Stasi. Also grey squirrels don’t kill reds but they outcompete them as they are bigger and immune to the parapoxvirus that has decimated the reds.
Finally the photograph you printed shows a barren towpath devoid of wildlife with grass mown to bowling green height and three bunches of non-native garden daffodils. This reflects the increasingly popular idea that the countryside should resemble a town park, with well cut grass, manicured hedges and colourful rows of flowers.
Could I suggest rather than asking what can wildlife organisations do for us you should be asking what can I do for wildlife. JON NICHOLLS, via email